Main

September 16, 2009

We've all done this

So, Sunday was my day off. I woke up at a non-unreasonable hour (with the help of my furry alarm clock, Cooper), made myself breakfast and a nice pot of coffee. I made a checklist of things that had to get done during this week, prioritizing what would need to be done first and I got down to business.

And then I realized that if any of my business was going to take place outside of my house at any point this week, I would have to do laundry because like the lazy slob that I am, I had two full laundry hampers and no clean knickers.

Yup, I'm a classy girl.

So, I relocated my ticking-things-off-master-list efforts to the laundromat. Everyone else in the known universe was there as well because it was Sunday afternoon. Sunday, that day of fun and rest that comes between Saturday (another potential day of fun) and the rest of the (potentially crappy) week. So, there was a bit of a queue for the machines. But, I had reading to do, so I was pretty set. Every once and awhile I look at my laundry baskets and I think to myself, "never again. I'm going to wash things on a weekly schedule so that I never run out of things." I get pretty good at it and then you have to put it off a day because something comes up and the next thing you know its a month later, or on your last pair of underpants and you're waiting for a machine to open up on a Sunday afternoon. I've made no vows to myself about a schedule this time. We'll just see how it goes.

May 11, 2009

My Overactive Imagination

I recently started a new job. At work yesterday, I went on a little quest to collect to mail. I was told that the hallway I would have to walk down in order to get to the mail room would be creepy. This was an understatement.


I walked through the door marked "Employees Only" and I was stopped dead in my tracks. The hallway was long and narrow. It had high ceilings. It was like being backstage. It was poorly lit by high, florescent bulbs. Worst of all, it smelled like Abercrombie and Fitch. My first thought was, "Oh, no. Horror movies have scenes that start like this."

The punky, anti-social, starved for affection girl (played by me in this reenactment) walks slowly down the hall. "Josh?" She says because the hallway smells like him. "This isn't funny." Of course, for us it is because we know what happened to Josh in this very hallway just moments before.

Josh (played by Jackson Rathbone or Paul Walker) is some pretty, blonde haired kid who was wearing a backwards baseball cap and a flannel over a the Number Twelve Looks Like You t-shirt. He thought it looked cool and no, he doesn't know the band nor the Twilight Zone episode from which the band stole its name. Sadly, Josh is no more. He's hanging from parts undetermined in the mail room (perhaps, the hanging could be connected to some joke incorporating the homophonous "male". Or, maybe this is a PG-13 and that would be taking it too far.) The punk girl opens the door and screams. The homicidal maniac pops out from behind something and...

The punk girl punches him in face, knocking the sucker out cold. Or, she just gets the mail and heads back to work
Either way, I imagine all future trips to collect mail will be super quick because it was a very creepy hallway.

October 12, 2008

Gah.

You know when you have a dream and you wake up feeling completely transformed? Well, I'm not having that moment. I'm having a I woke up feeling great, made myself a great breakfast, was drinking a great cup of coffee and then, I read something and it occurred to me just what sort of implications the current financial crush may have for me, the lowly graduate student in Linguistics. And, I'm trying not to panic.

Then, to add insult to injury my iPod (which I use for extra storage because it is so big) has apparently decided it doesn't want to play nice with Windows. Oh, and its frozen and refuses to respond to any and all commands to turn itself off or unfreeze. I have to wait for it to run out of batteries and then plug it in and hope it doesn't fuck up again. The reformatting is fine. I'm pretty sure there isn't anything on the iPod that isn't someplace else as well, I'd just like to check before I tell my computer to fix the problem.

However, it has inspired me to do something that I've been meaning to do. My laptop is old, and I am trying my best to not have to buy a new one. This, of course means that I have to take really good care of the one that I have. Something I've been considering doing for a good two months now is buying an external hard drive so that I can move some of the non-essential stuff off of my computer and put it someplace else. This would free up space on my hard drive and would I'm sure, improve the quality of its running. I haven't yet because I've been shopping around. (I'm trying to be frugal. I'm not very good at it.) I think I finally found a good price from a website I trust. (Plus, its the exact same product I scoped out at Best Buy for a silly amount of money less expensive.) So, I hope this works out.

September 08, 2008

Someone's Got a Case of the Mondays

It is Monday morning. I'm showered. I've dressed. I've blended fruit, yogurt, tea, and flax seed together to make a tasty breakfast smoothie. I've made a cuppa tea. I've made my list of things that need to be accomplished today. And, yet, I feel like I'm toodling around my apartment like one of the flesh-eating zombies in the film I saw Saturday night. (All things being equal, that isn't a bad representation of what it is to be a B-horror flick. And, the zombie locomotion in it I found to be particularly hilarious. Its like the zombies are half-cognizant flesh-eating maniacs doing their best impressions of the scarecrow from The Wizard of Oz. Classic.)


I feel a bit like someone might pop out of the nowhere, covered in flair, and offer me a cup of coffee with a cliched remark about how awful Mondays are.

But, it isn't Mondays. I'm not even sure its mornings. To say I'm not a morning person would be inaccurate. I do not have a problem with the idea of mornings. In fact, I tend to set my alarm as early as I think I can get away with because I find that (once I get going) I can be very productive before 11 AM. A more accurate description is that I am an inertial creature. I find that changing states (asleep to awake, awake to functioning like a normal human being, any of those processes in reverse, etc.) to be difficult and, as the term "inertial" will attest, unless there is a reason I pretty much can't be bothered. Lucky for me that "a good reason" includes things like, "no longer being badgered by the insistent alarm", "hot shower water", and "cuppa". That being said, even though I've been up an hour, I could still probably pass as an extra on the set of George Romero's next film.

July 23, 2008

The Following Conversation was had this weekend.

TSA Woman: You look a little tired.
Me: I am a little tired.
TSA Woman: (Looking at ticket and ID) Well, at least you're going some place fun.
Me: (Looks at woman incredulously for a moment.) Actually, I'm going to a funeral.
TSA Woman: (Backtracking in a flustered manner.) Oh. Well. Um. At least you're going to get to see people you like.
Me: Well, there is that.


My Grandfather died late last week. It has been a rough week for my family. Although, I have enjoyed the occasional moment of levity granted to me by the cheerful people at the TSA and the fact that everyone in my family thinks that in order for something to be funny, it has to be inappropriate.

June 09, 2008

I feel the same way...


I think I'm a nice girl. I don't clean, but I cook. I'm tall. I go for long walks. I read a ton. I can appropriately use semi-colons and adverbs. I know the difference between a porter and an ale. And, yet... *sigh* I think I'd have an easier time getting hit by a meteor than I would being back out on in the dating world.

April 23, 2008

Darth Vader Voice

Since I've been back in the States, My Mother has been pretty insistent on one thing: That I somehow find a way to get health insurance. I need to be insured. Now, this is pretty understandable because I am a little accident prone and I seem to have developed a number of odd food sensitives whilst I was overseas. Nothing life threatening, just things that are annoying for the moment. (But, as with any "sensitivity" or allergy, there is always the possibility of it getting worse over time. So, the giant sugar cookie at my local coffee dealer that makes me itch down my center line today may cause any number of things like restricted breathing passages and death in the future. God, I love jumping straight into conclusions.)

So, yesterday I stopped into see her before I went to get my haircut while she was at work. My Mother smiled and me and said, "Hey, since you're not working you should get on your Dad's schedule and go see the insurance agent!" She has been particularly insistent about the insurance since I've decided that I will be pursuing my PhD. studies in Buffalo. Apparently, one needs to be insured in order to go look at places to live in Western New York.

I get on my Dad's schedule and preempt the tedious federal paperwork (and reading more Laurell K. Hamilton, Jen Lancaster (Bitter is the New Black is freaking hilarious!,) or writing more Slash Fiction) to go to the office. We chat with the insurance agent and I wonder briefly why it is that I need to go to school at all and can't just get a real job (because I am a nerd and I have found my calling, that's why, bitches) and while she steps out of the room my Dad and I fall into impersonations of my Mother as Darth Vader. Luke, You Will See the Insurance Agent and things of the like. Now, if you know my Mother, she is nothing like Darth Vader. She wears pink. She likes kittens. She does need a tray to kill you. But, I whipped my Father and I into a frenzy of giggle fits with this one.

Of course, on the ride home after the giggle fits subsided, I had to have a chat with him about how I need to be more responsible with money. Why do parents always have to end things on a practical note?

June 06, 2007

Penguins. Pragmatics. A Joke from Preston.

My friend Preston once told me this joke:


There are two penguins up at the North Pole. They are sitting down to dinner and one of the penguins says to the other penguin, "Can you please pass me the salt?" to which the second penguin replied, "I AM NOT A TYPEWRITER!"


I was lying in bed this morning and this joke popped into my head. When I first heard it my response was, "But, there are no penguins at the North Pole. There is only one penguin in the Northern Hemisphere, and its equatorial." I think Preston at the time told me not be such a jerk, which was immediately followed by, "THAT is the one thing about the whole joke that bothered you? That there are no penguins in the Northern Hemisphere? It didn't bother you that the penguins were sitting down to a meal or that they speaking English or that they even knew what a typewriter was?" Of course, if I thought about it, these things would bother me. But, the first thing that bothered me, the thing that made everything else that was to follow bizarre yet irrelevant, is that the penguins wouldn't have been at the North Pole in the first place.

This joke didn't pop into my head because of the original discussion, it popped into my head because that's how I've been feeling the past few days...like a penguin at the North Pole making a simple request for some salt and being told in a raised voice that my interlocutor was not a typewriter. I've made a lot of references to the pragmatics of things lately, whether at the pub or just in general and I am left wondering, am I, by going about things the way I've always done them (which would mean in an American style) that I am doing wrong? Or, have I recently come into contact with a number of people who either have no social skills or who are being intentionally obtuse?

I like pragmatics. Not just because people don't say what they mean, but because when we use language in generally has some intent or purpose...something that we want to get done beyond the simple passing on of information. Pragmatics textbooks are full of examples of ways that we can use language to do things. There are classic examples of how, just by speaking the words we make something happen (For example: a wedding. " I now pronounce the husband and wife." when said after an exchange of vows signifies a marriage.) But, more often than not we get things done not by using the literal meanings of words, but through some sort of metaphorical or extended meanings of words. "Can I sit down?" isn't a request for you to verify whether an individual has the capacity to sit. Its something you say in order to get invited into a longer conversation. Its also something you say when you want someone to move their coat off of a seat so that you can sit down.

I'm not quite sure of the pragmatic intent behind, "Please pass the salt." aside from wanting the salt, but I have to figure it out, because I'm tired of hearing, "I AM NOT A TYPEWRITER!"

May 31, 2007

Momma Said There'd Be Days Like These...

So, its been a week and no news on the scholarship. This has me all kinds of worried. And as if waiting weren't bad enough on its own, as each day passes I start to get more worried that soon my waiting will be over...and that it won't end as I hope it will.


Of course, you can't let your mind get wrapped up in these sorts of things. So, I continued on the job hunt today. I wasn't hired by the coffee shop. I would be upset about this, but I'm actually more upset that I'm still unemployed in the first place than I am by individual rejections. What is wrong with me that British businesses don't want to hire me? Is it really that daunting to check references in another country? Is it really that hard to shoot off an email (because I provide email addresses with all my references) if you don't want to be charged an international phone rate. Its beyond upsetting, its vexing.

On the plus side, I suppose, I found a sandwich shop and a Greggs in the area that are hiring. I could be the new pasty girl. That sounds sexier than it actually is.

May 30, 2007

Surf Clouds

Sometimes, Cardiff has the sort of clouds that you expect to see in snaps taken at sunset by tourists visiting the beach. They have this salty, swept in from sea look that is harsh yet soft, backlit by the setting sun. Its one of the things I like about here; different enough from the methane sunsets of Iowa to be remarkable.


I was thinking today, while walking back from an interview at a coffee shop that a good cup of coffee from the same place you always get it is a little like making the bed in the morning. There are these steps and procedures that you have to go through if you are making it, and you might think, "Why bother?" Why mess around with hospital corners and making sure everything gets tucked in? Why bother count the seconds it takes to brew a shot? You have other things to do; the world is a busy and chaotic place.

Well, I reason that you bother because then, every time you see your bed its a reminder that there are things that you have control over. That maybe the universe isn't such a chaotic place; there is some sort of order. And you aren't bringing anything left over from yesterday, like twisted and mangled sheets because you kept tossing and turning before you fell asleep into the next day. Getting the same cup of coffee from the same place is a little like that. Its a reminder that there is order in the vast universe. A universe that may possibly be friendly because the barista that you see every Thursday and Saturday and some Mondays and Tuesdays has bothered to learn your name and not just your drink. Maybe I'm being optimistic and maybe its just subconcious, but I think these reminders of order are important to us. And even if they are the tiniest of things, they still do us good.

April 04, 2007

Wednesday Afternoon

I am sitting in my lat listening to the digital radio station Oneword. In the afternoons they have a program that is just someone reading Anton Chekhov's short stories. Its my favorite digital radio station because of its programming focus on literature.


I think you should check this out.

February 21, 2007

Classic Novel Missions

I finished Lady Chatterly's Lover a fortnight ago. I will write about it. I did enjoy it. So, now I have to choose which Classic novel to read next in my "get back to the classics" Quest, or rather, resolution.

So, while I was thinking about what to read next I found this: Classic Novels in Five Minutes A Day. How exciting is that?

December 07, 2006

Sut Mae'r tywydd?

I think I may have mispelled Tywydd.

How's the weather? One might say. And, one might answer: dreadful. Its pissing down and have you seen those gale force winds? Not to mention the thunder. When do we ever hear thunder? Its mad, I tell you. I got up at 6:30 this morning and I listened to the wind and I listened to the rain and I thought, " I am feeling so much better than I did yesterday. I bet if I tried to speak my voice would be well on the mend. I don't have near the amount of sinus pressure as I did before. I don't feel feverish. I'm feeling quite good, actually." Then, came the thunder. And, a gust of wind. Which was followed by another and then another and the another for the next hour and I found myself thinking, "I have to wakl to school. I have to walk to school and then if it is raining I will have to sit in my class soaking wet and probably shivering until the end of class at which point I will have to walk home. Will that be good for me?"

I do not doubt that the walking would be good for me. Instead I am concerned by the hour and a half of sitting in wet clothing shivering. And, while thinking of the shivering, I suddenly lose my will to get up and move about out in the world. I want to stay where it is warm and dry.

So, I do. And, for the first time in a long time I do not feel a tinge of guilt for my decision not to leave the house. Of course, I will probably leave the house at some point today. There is a video that needs to be taken back into the video shop and I was thinking about making a pie. Of course, I have been thinking about making a pie for ages now, so that probably won't happen tonight. What will probably happen is that I will sit down and begin to read something and then I will be distracted by something else and on and on this will go until the evening is over and it is time to go to bed.

But, for now, I will sit here and listen to the wind and work on cleaning the apartment and tutor and maybe make lunch after I am done tutoring. We shall see.

October 18, 2006

Autumn



Occasionally, I do things that do not involve reading, learning, studying, or job seeking. One of those things I do is photography. I have not done it in awhile. My last big push to document Cardiff was to snap some shots of the lovely graffiti in the area. (I task that I will need to head out on again, as there is some new stuff that is interesting.) I headed over to the park today and got a few shots of the trees beginning to turn.  

 

 

 

None of them really turned out as I hoped, but they are at least something I can work with.  The Roath Park Rec is a gated area that has a small rose garden, tennis courts, and bowling greens.  This is where I headed in the early afternoon.  (It is right across from my flat, so that made it easier.)  I first hit the roses.

 <img alt="15oct06 017.jpg" src="http://thefilmnoirexperience.com/blog/%20021.jpg

 

And, then I moved on to more trees.  My favorite of all of these, cropped here for your enjoyment, contained a squirrel.

 

  The lighting at this point wasn't very good and my battery died right after the shot so I wasn't able to blind the poor guy with a strobe.  Also, as I got a little closer the squirrel clocked me and ran up the tree.  But, you can see the little guy in silohuette in the middle of the right bit of the V in the tree. 

 

After I got home, I had some fun in photoshop with some of the photos.  As it turns out, the colors are spectacular yet even though its autumn as things have just starting turning and leaves have just started falling.  To be fair, I don't remember a ton of spectacular autumn colors last year.  What I remember, mostly, is that it is cold and grey.  So, being me I'm impatient.  I wanted fall colours now.  So, here is my favourite of the ones with which I've been mucking about.

 

 Well, I tried, but it apparently doesn't want to show up. 

October 11, 2006

Breathe. continue.

Last night, after we had meditated and we had a little talk, we meditated a little more and then we formed little discussion groups. The topic was inner peace. One of the comments the teachers had made about perspective was that when you meet someone you don't like it is good to remember that this may just be an illusion, a perspective because that person is liked and loved by other people. One of the members of my little discussion group found that to be very moving. He brought up the Amish school shootings in Pennsylvania and told us about an article he had read. Around 30 members of the Amish community that lost six of its girls in that school shooting turned up at the killer's funeral. Now, I find that moving. Its one thing to talk about forgiveness, its a much bigger thing to be able to follow through on the talk.


I, myself, find forgiveness something that is very hard to do. I don't know why. I always have. So, it has given me a lot of food for throught and hopefully it will be something that I can meditate (hooray!) on and develop because I think the world could actually use a bit more it. We seem to use revenge and punishment with such glee and gusto that things like mercy and forgiveness are just given lip service. Like, what would really happen if, instead of sanctioning Iran, we said, "Look. We'd like you to not do this one thing. But, we understand that you have these certain needs you would like to have met. What sort of plan can we develop in order to meet both of our needs/expectations?" Are we really that afraid of tyrannical madmen that we are willing to damage innocent people and cut out working with reasonable people?

October 10, 2006

Breathe.

Today, I went to a meditation class that was being held at the community centre down the street. I was feeling tired and had thought earlier in the day that I might not go. However, I had told Anne-Marie if she would be interested in going and she said yes, so I roped myself into it.

The class began with a short meditation in which we took our concentration through our bodies and relaxed. Then we focused on our breathing. After that, the instructor gave a little talk about inner peace. He had this style of speaking that was very conversational and he kept interrupting himself. It made me smile.

October 07, 2006

Another slow day on the hacienda

So, we got up around 8:30 this morning. Which is sleeping in for us. I read a little, John watched the extras on the X-men 3 DVD. John went back to bed. I read some more. I think I fell asleep again. I'm getting up the energy to go out and take some pictures. John has gone to the pub because Wales is playing Slovakia today in the Euro 2008 qualifiers. Before he left he tried to talk me into taking the disposable camera instead of my real camera out and then the last thing he said to me on the way out of the door was, "Don't get mugged." I think he was a little upset that I wouldn't take his advice. However, I did not spend all that money on a digital camera to use a disposable camera. (Which I have just to take to bars.)

It feels like a Sunday and not like a Saturday. I have Welsh vocabulary to learn. Among the words I have on flash cards are such exciting things as "porridge" and the color "black". "Black" as a word in Welsh amuses me because its spelled "du" which is said "dee". Its great. The whole language is great. Thumbs up to Welsh.

I've been having a lot of really weird and very vivid dreams about such things as the Peace Corps, spiders, and castles filled with books. Its been a very tense week because the dreams have been effecting how I've been sleeping which has made me bitchy.

Coming up (hopefully) this weekend, I will post a This Week in Welsh and a music review of Mewithoutyou's new CD. So, stay tuned and such.

October 06, 2006

Home?

Cardiff is supposed to be host to gale force winds, I hear. Not first hand, of course because weather reports are for chumps. I'd much rather wish I had my umbrella with me than actually have my umbrella with me.

I received two emails today my CV. One from someone I sent it to and one from someone who saw it on Monster.com. I feel these are good signs. I will hopefully going in for at least one interview next week. It is hard to think of Cardiff as home right now, because I don't often get to see my friends and I'm not in school anymore. Also, I think its hard because my lovely boy has lived her for so long that he knows everyone. We joined the video shop today and while we were walking home we saw three people he knew. Of course, he's introduced me to them so I know them, too. Its just hard sometimes to think of them as "our friends" when they were "his friends" for so long before I even existed here in this city.

I have some hope, though. There is a weekly Welsh conversation drinking hour run by one of the teachers at a pub not far from here on Wednesdays. Which is perfect as my lovely has a night class on Wednesdays. I'm thinking about going. Also, there are meditation classes just down the road on Tuesdays starting next Tuesday and I'm definitely thinking about that. A friend of mine has recently been taking meditation back home and has met with much success. It has rekindled my interest and has got me to dig through my books and pull out the ones I have here on meditation.

I know it takes awhile to get settled and that I will adjust to the changes in my life. But, its still a lot of getting used to.

September 04, 2006

Where's a bartender when you need one?

This Schweppes advert I have become bizarrely fascinated with. It basically shows a bunch of people showing off while they are making drinks for their friends and of course, they are all drinks that some how involve schweppes tonic water. I suppose I’ve been trying to figure out what drinks they are making. The first guy starts off on the phone shaking what looks I assume is liquor and frozen berries in a cocktail shaker. I have no idea what he’s making, but it looks damn good. The next drinker maker is a woman watching tv while she makes mojitos. Ah, mojitos. There really is nothing like rum and mint mashed with limes and sugar. (Really, there is nothing like rum. That’s why the saddest part of the first Pirates of the Caribbean flick is when Elizabeth sets her little fire.) The third guy, at least in my viewing is making gin and tonics. A real show-off, isn’t he? What with bouncing the measure off his elbow and all. Oh, and then there’s the thing with the lime at the end. How sharp would your knife have to be to cut straight through the lime like that? How much force would the lime have to hit the blade in order to get that clean a cut? I wonder these things. I suppose it could be vodka and tonic as well, but who drinks that? Then there’s the nice 1940's veneer over the whole thing with the lighting, the furnishing in the apartment, the way people are dressed (check out that polka dot dress at the very beginning). Oh, and the song by Spike Jones and The City Slickers. I dig it. I just want to know what kind of drink that is with the berries!

August 31, 2006

Visitin'.

So, I sat down after lunch ready to get set and add hopefully at least a thousand words to my thesis. Its a little after three and I have added maybe fifty words to my thesis. I am not too terribly worried about this because this is not entirely my fault. As I was sitting down someone buzzed at the door. Obviously, I went to see who it was and found it to be John's mom. I invited her in. When they talked for forty-five minutes about John's health and money and family and how the world works. When he signed the lease and I realized that we lived around the corner from his parents and across from the park that his mother takes the dog for a walk in I was a little worried that my life would turn into an episode of Everybody Loves Raymond. Well, not a little worried. A Lot worried because refuse to live in a piece-of-shit unfunny sitcom about a doofus with a squeaky voice. But, my life has remained very much Raymond-free. I can't think of a TV reference...maybe Queer of Folk (if only!) without the gay people as I have made zero queer friends in Cardiff (how did that happen?)

Then, I got a little worried about my visa and spent an hour or so on the Home Office's website. I think I should be okay. I'm not going to worry about it. After that I emailed the Welsh Language Centre and because I am a student I get a 50% discount on my Welsh class. How awesome is that? Its way awesome. You can admit it.

Its nice having John's mom pop in occasionally. Yesterday she stopped by as well, but with the dog. Jack is a maniac. A Fuzzy little maniac. Well, he's not little, but you get the point. His mom and I also talked about some of John's mates. It was nice to have a little gossip session. Anne-Marie is moving today and I was thinking about popping over and seeing if she needs a little help. I don't know, we'll see if I get anything done in the near future. And, by that in the next half an hour. I left her a comment on her blog to offer my services and she fired me an email saying that if I was up for it, I could come take pictures of the hilarity that should be the move. She's been trying to use up all the food in her cupboard in order to not move it, so a couple days ago she made cookies. Which makes complete sense. When I moved I pretty much just had tea and peanut butter in my cupboard.

August 24, 2006

Massive joint space ventures

Crap.  I can't remember what I was going to write about.  John and I had a couple of pints earlier and now, well.  You know.  I had a meeting with my advisor who thinks I just need to write.  And, he said he looked forward to seeing the finished piece, more or less.  I met with some of my coursemates and we organized a going out do for when we're all finished.  I have the application for my Welsh class in my bag.  We're going to watch good fellas in a bit.  right now I have firefly on, but the disc is skipping and that pisses me off to no end.  no good.  I'm going to have to fix that now.  But, in general its been a good day.

August 18, 2006

Moving: The TV Licence

The British have a quaint custom known as the "TV licence".  Back in the day, before Sky and digital and telly being beamed into your house, back when the BBC made large strides to appear to be something run by the government for the benefit of the people you had to licence your TV in order to generate revenue in order to continue creating BBC programming.  Now, with the BBC beaming its fare all over the world (and collecting ad revenue from it) and with cable companies providing people with crazy numbers of channels, I really wonder if the licencing is still necessary.  But necessary or not, it is still in place,  which means that we need a TV licence in our new place.

 

 

Continue reading "Moving: The TV Licence" »

July 20, 2006

Well, fuck me.

This will be the second time I have written this entry.

 

 

My love monkey is ill.  He has come down with a bug (that I am not yet completely over).  He is currently taking another nap.

 

Today, after being prodded by an alarm that wasn't my own (and that sounded startlingly like a smoke detector) I ventured forth and went to the library.  Libraries are wonderful repositories of words.  Some of those words are printed on pieces of paper that are then bounded in volumes.  And, mostly those words seem to be part of longer sequences known as "sentences".  Some of these "sentences" were even of use today.  My dissertation supervisor has gone to Africa. I promised him pages to read upon his return.  More precisely he's gone some place in Nigeria, a plateau, where it rains at or around 1 p.m. every day.  Or, maybe it was 11 a.m.  Either way, it rains about the same time every day I thought, "That's incredible."  Clearly, he thought so as well because we obviously discussed it.  I have waited all day for it to rain here and all day I have been disappointed.  Although, I suppose I shouldn't be disappointed because that means I didn't get wet on walks to and from the library.  (Oh, and by the way, the new flat is so much closer to campus I would like to set fire to the description of the last place I lived that said, "walking distance to campus", which was so much a lie, as not really the full truth.  It took me fifteen to walk to school today.  It used to take me nearly half an hour.)

Continue reading "Well, fuck me." »

July 13, 2006

I suppose I should be sleeping

Sometimes I wonder what its like to feel like a real person.  This, of course, is sort of a ridiculous thing to wonder because when I think person, I generally think human being, and I definitely fit the qualifications for one of those.  Its just, I don't know, sometimes I have small philosophical quarrels with myself and sometimes I have small debates about physics and sometime sI wonder what its like to be real or be a person or be a real person.  Maybe I'm not making sense.  Maybe I should back up. 

 

How do you define a person?  Is personhood a physcological state?  Is it a physical state?  Is it a legal state?  See, these are the questions I ask myself.  More importantly, these are questions I ask myself when I should be doing other things, like maybe getting back to my literature since I'm obviously not sleeping.   

July 08, 2006

Out Loud

“You think I’m talking just to hear myself talk?”  –Bill Cosby.

    Maybe I do like the sound of my own voice.  I don’t know.  I do know that I love language.  All language.  My language.  I like the well-crafted sonnets of John Donne as much as I like the colorful metaphor and imagery put forth by the Manic Street Preachers.  I find both to be evocative.  
    I must be weird.  I like being alone.  I like silence.  I like space.  These are not human norms.  Preliterate, tribal societies don’t have the concept of personal space that we have.  Life is a social thing, something that is spent, by default talking with and being near the same small group of people all the time.  I dig my clique, don’t get me wrong.  And I would go to great ends to see them happy and safe.  I know, that would make me not weird.  
    Its more... I like to talk about ideas.  Language is an idea.  Language is a different idea for everyone.  This is something that we do all day, everyday and I suppose in the space of our tribes, what we say, what we reference is common.  You don’t have to bother to define it further, because you were all there when it happened and saw it happen and understand what is being described and what is meant.  Guess you had to be there.  Literacy changes that.  Literacy creates language that spans time, place, class, and gender.  It gives language the appearance of being stark, immutable and the status quo.  Maybe its that I do a lot of identity theorizing.  But written/oral, person/persona, image/content, these are distinctions I can make and do make.  When I talk, I like talking about ideas.  Feelings are for feeling and living is for living they don’t need to be discussed.  I like to separate ideas out from emotions so that, like play-doh I can observe them, roll them over and manipulate them.  I like to engage with them.  Maybe that’s not weird.
    I like saying, “ I learned this thing...” And I like getting excited about it and I like telling people about it.  I like when this happens for other people.  The classical world doesn’t interest me, except when I get to hear it filtered through the excitement and presentation of my friend Elizabeth.  So, maybe this isn’t separating things from emotion... maybe its just separating them from things that aren’t love.  My point is, she’s not telling me about what’s going on in her life or what people were wearing, she’s connecting with the past and something beyond the immediate, getting excited about it and sharing it.  I like that.  I like that a lot.  
    


 

--August 2005 

June 24, 2006

Breakfast the morning after my birthday

Potato scones are the Scottish version of Aloo paratha.  Giving my family's Scottish origin, I suppose I should be a little embarrassed that I had its Indian counterpart first.  I'm not particularly bothered. The potato scone is a thin layer of potato in between a soda bread crust.  They can be fried or heated on a grill (or in a broiler).  I've been told that they are made to soak up grease, like the toast in your bacon, egg, toast and hash brown breakfast.  And, I say that's a good call because they are a bit dry on their own. 

 

 

So, I get up the day after my birthday and make myself breakfast.  I don't have bacon or hashbrowns, even though I did think about buying bacon yesterday.  So, I just have egg and potato scone.  I make  my eggs sunny side up so I have something to dip the scones into.  Also, I fry them because, why not?  You only live once.  They are nice fried and (even though I really don't have the patience to make an egg sunny side up) the potato scones are complimented by the egg yolk.  They don't overpower it and are salty without being overly salty.  We don't have a salt shaker in the flat yet, so this made the potato scone the perfect acompaniment to egg which needed a little salt.  I know, that's quite possibly the least helpful description of anything ever, but we are talking about something made out of potato and soda bread.

 

I rounded the whole meal out with a cup of day old coffee in the best birthday present I got yesterday: a new mug.  It has kitties on it.  Okay, now that breakfast is over, I should probably go finish cleaning out the house on Whitchurch Road. 

 

June 19, 2006

Oh the horror

I have a Fall Out Boy song stuck in my head.  I'm starting to get hungry.  I have to go buy some veg before I go home.  My fiancee is ill and upset with his brother (with whom he doesn't get along with) I should be writing my dissertation and/or getting my stuff out of the house and into the flat. 

Continue reading "Oh the horror" »

June 01, 2006

Summer

Today is the first actual summer like day I have experienced here in Wales. 

Continue reading "Summer" »

May 29, 2006

Well, that had been the plan...

I was going to move into the house with John's housemates until one of them had a minor miscommunication with the landlord and the house is now going to be rented to someone else.  Bastards.  But, we looked at a property that is effing huge and beautiful.  John and I will each have our own room, which we are going to turn into a living room and a bedroom so that we can sit on our own sofa and watch our own movies without idiots popping in and talking through the whole thing.  We're cancers, what can we see, we like our home the way we like our home and we get cranky when people bug us.  So, that's the deal with that.

Also, my phone is still broken because the sim card thingee decided to block itself.  So, in the morning, if I still haven't received anything in the mail I have to walk into town and very patiently explain that I'm fucking done waiting for them and that I don't care if it means that I have to give people a new phone number I just want a new sim card.  And, since I have been without a phone for the past two weeks, its the very least they can do for me.  And, if that's not acceptable, I am going to take my business elsewhere.  So, its possible that by tomorrow afternoon I will have a new phone number.  I just can't deal with this locking business.  Its too much hassle. 

In further news, my iPod won't turn on for some unknowable reason.  I am currently following the instructions on the page created by Apple for fixing the little gizmo.  Hopefully, it will work.  I have to leave it for 24 hours and let it "drain" itself, it looks like.  This being the second in the series of gizmos not working in my presence suggests in my mind that gizmos hate me and that I should be careful when they are around. 

Lastly, I am going to try something called "toad in the hole" for dinner tonight.  It appears to be sausages baked inside a yorkshire pudding.  It looks tasty.  I am going to make a little gravy to have with it, which should be good, too.  I'll let you know how that goes.

May 27, 2006

Its raining, Its pouring. The old man is snoring...

It rains here all the time... and, joking aside that I do live in Wales, honestly, I think its been raining too much.  And, I'm not just saying that because I'd like to get outside every now and then and not get soaked and not because I'd like to see the sun (because both of these things are true) but because the other day someone said to me, "Its usually not like this."  They then shrugged and said, "so much for the water shortage". 

 

Today we are going to go and look at houses for the next six months.  I will be living with John and his current housemates Lee, Jigger (whose real name is Matthew) and Craig.  They are nice boys, a little set it their ways, but then who isn't? 

 

Right now I am sitting in the library and the kid at the computer next to me is hitting the keys so hard he's shaking my computer.  Now, how's that for conviction of what you are saying.  I just have to finish up this entry and print something.  Then, I have to go so that I can meet everyone at the estate agents. 

 

John and I have begun watching firefly.  I enjoyed the first episode.  They are space cowboys!  yee haw!  I will write more in-depth about this later. 

May 21, 2006

Lazy Afternoons.

I'm listening to a CD that I made for someone last October. Its pretty good.  Trying to decide if its raining out or not.  I'm not sure when the bus is due to come, so I may be walking in it if I'm not careful.  Funnily enough, that happens a lot here, walking in the rain.  I have umbrellas, but I don't know where they are.  Its been a very lazy Sunday.  So far I have gone for a walk with John and his housemate Jigger to the video store.  We rented Firefly.  We have it for a week.  We had lunch and now I'm checking my email.  John is taking a nap and then he's going to see his Mama.  We're getting together later to watch some Firefly and eat some more food.  I think I may read some today, but I can't make any assurances as to whether or not that will happen.  Also, I have to think about getting ready to go to London for a couple of days to see Stephy!  Hooray!

May 11, 2006

My glasses are wicked dirty...

With papers due in 24 hours, why am I still dragging my feet?

May 08, 2006

Illustrative examples

So, I am writing a paper for my class on discourse and social interaction, which I keep calling in my head strategic interaction.  I have been having a number of problems with the essay, most of them stemming from my overwhelming desire to write a good paper, something that I am proud of, something that I won't think about as embarrassing when I write this professor a letter after term is over to request letters of reference for the phD programs I am applying to.  There is, of course, the added pressure that this is the only thing on which I will be graded for the class.  For this paper, I am discussing the work of two sociologists and one linguist and, more or less, how applicable their concepts are to the field of discourse.  The paper is supposed to be critical and here's the thing with that... people in the field tend not to be critical of the guys I'm writing on because, as my professor recenly said in a meeting with him, we're just so excited to apply the concepts and see them work.  So, anyway, I'm trying to be critical and I'm writing my paper and so far, this monstrosity that isn't supposed to be more than 4,000 words is just under 3,000 and contains no illustrative examples.  When I first started writing the paper, I collected a small data sample (about fifteen minutes in length) of John and I playing the children's game Guess Who?.  I thought I could analyse the text showing how they would be analysed if I were coming at it from the three different approaches of the three different guys, but now I think that's just too much work.  And, as has been pointed out to me, illustrative examples are meant to just clarify your point.  They don't have to be ground breaking, they just have to support your argument. 

A good example of what I mean by illustrative examples can be seen running through the work of Erving Goffman  (for example, in Frame AnalysisGoffman is a freaking master of coming up with the anecdote to prove his point (in Frame Analysis he seems to draw heavily from newspaper articles).  And, since is topic is the organization of experience, it is in fact quite exciting when you have examples of how experience that are organization in a Goffmanian way.  So, I'm thinking now about using Invader Zim to make my many points.  (My essay, at this point, is essentially about the organization of research aims and how they effect the methodology you use to investigate them.) 

 At this point, I'm thinking about throwing in the towel for a bit and walking home.  I've been working on this more or less since 9:45 this  morning and its almost 4 in the afternoon now.  Although, I would like to get through to the bottom of this draft (I'm on draft 6) before I move locations.  I can't decide if I'm being stubborn of systematic.  bah. 

May 04, 2006

GRAAHHHHH!

SO...I've been thinking.  And, the more I think about it, the more I think that for what I want to do my PhD on, I don't think that this is the best university for me because the phonology professor is retiring.  That would make this less than ideal for me because I'd have someone who wasn't interested in phonology supervising my PhD that would be primarily on phonology.  See what I saying?  Anyway, I think that I should be looking at other programs in other places. 

 

In other news, my internet is back on after a week of it being turned off because I finally, just now, received a notice that the payment I sent in MARCH was not accepted.  (What about the payment I sent in April, you ask?  Don't.  I spoke to someone on the phone and got really snippy with the poor guy.)  Bills here are fucking, fucking, fucking ridiculous.  They want you to always have a direct debit set up and to encourage this, they have a SURCHARGE on all other forms of fucking payment.  Do you fucking believe that?  Its 2 quid now, but on 1 June, its going up to 4 quid.

 

 

Also, there's something wrong with my iPod.  I am going to try and fix it now. 

April 24, 2006

Bore da, swchd ddi chi, bore ma?

I have a feeling I just misspelled all of those words.  I can't decide if I feel incredibly stressed out...or just pissed off at myself for not being a harder worker.  I've not had a bad day.  Actually, I've had a pretty good day.  I received an email from the professor in charge of the studentship I am working on an application for.  She said that there is no citizenship restriction but has indicated that it will be an advantage to speak more than one European language.  So, I have to stop being afraid and just suck it up and own up to the fact that I do, in fact, speak Spanish and Italian and stop denying my abilities.  Also, for some reason I'm having trouble checking my university email.  its pissing me off. 

April 20, 2006

Good Morning...

I supposed to be meeting Anne-Marie in 15 minutes.  We are going to be study buddies and hopefully encourage each other out of great periods of sloth into healthy periods of enquiry and endeavour.  Does that sound optimistic, because it is.  My phone is flashing incessantly at me and I need to brush my teeth.

 

John and I talked about going on holiday together.  We talked about visiting America.  There's one problem with that...plane tickets are so expensive and being an apprentice painter and decorator he's not rolling in the cash.  He seems to think he'll be able to save up enough money for a ticket, but the longer he has the better he'll be at it.  He got really quiet as we were talking about this.  Depending on how things go in the next three weeks I may not want to go until September.  But, I may have to go in July.  We'll see what happens.

 

In other news, I'm thinking of putting together a PhD proposal that looks at the formulaic language used to sell European citizenship to the British by the government and other interesting parties.  The project would take a look at multiple modes of media and compare the amount of formulaicity used and the type of language used in general.  I'll have to get more specific than that but I just thought of that last night while John and I were talking. 

 

Everything's up in the air right now...you can imagine how I feel about that.

April 18, 2006

Squirrelly mail.

So, the webmail server at the university is having issues today.  Figures, right?  I've tried now to send an email more than once to the head of PhD studies.  Graaa.  Its just not been working.  There is a new studentship available that would be specific to media and the EU, and I think it looks interesting but before I put a proposal together I want to make sure that I am eligible for it because I'm, obviously, not from the EU.  It would be a fees only studentship, but hey, that's not having to worry about tuition and that's nice.  Hopefully this will all work out.  We'll see what happens, eh? Of course, this means I will actually have to put in an application to the university in order to stay.  heh. 

April 17, 2006

Everything Closes on Sundays

And even though its Monday, everything has closed today.  I am taking a study break from my reading and later John is going to cook me dinner.  (Isn't that sweet of him?)  A lot of things are closed (or close early) on Sundays in the UK.  I think its quaint, and its certainly nice for everyone to have a day off.  I said this last night and one of John's roommates said, "Why? Its not their lives, people should be able to work if they want to."  Which is interesting.  I know of no one would would honestly say, "Yes, please, I know this is a holiday, but I'd like some more mandatory toil, please."  But, that could just be me being sarcastic.  But, being that today is a bank holiday, its Easter Monday, everything is closed today.  Well, not everything.  The grocery stores that were shut yesterday are open today, but walking down the road to the grocers was a little like being in a ghost town.  Everything was sealed up and shut, grates down and doors locked.  The coffee shop I like to frequent was open and I would have stopped for a cup but I was on a mission to buy bacon so that I could make grilled cheese with bacon sandwiches.  Everything is quiet, my housemates are still all gone away on holiday.  But, that's okay.  I have lovely daffodils my Mom bought when she was here and later I will be having spaghetti with John.  It should make for a nice evening.  Also, the sun is out and its shining.  I dig that.